Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I want an exterior entry into my basement?
A basement entry door can add light and ventilation to your lower-level living space, give you a private entrance to the basement, increase your home's value and make it easier to access your yard from the basement. Full size doors and windows make a basement look and feel truly finished.

Do building codes require an exterior door in our finished basement?
According to building codes, a basement sleeping area must have two exits, with one to the exterior. These exits can be through an egress window or exterior entry door. In order to be counted as "habitable" space, your basement must have an exterior door or egress window. You'll rest easier knowing your lower level offers an escape route in case of fire, especially if guests or family members occasionally sleep there.

How are basement entry doors installed?
Installing a basement entry door amounts to major surgery on your home's foundation: That's why you want experienced professionals on the job. Click to see photos of the installation process.

Are basement entry doors secure?
In general, basement entry doors are not a safety hazard. Codes may require guard rails and handrails in the door area, much like the railings required on a deck or deck stairs. The door itself locks securely, just like any other door in your home. We install doors with mini-blinds between the glass for privacy.

Can I put an entry door in a spot with no existing door or window?
We can install an entry door in any location on your basement wall at least 3 feet wide (6 feet for double doors). Doors can even be placed in areas that are currently underground. Keep in mind that doors cannot be located less than 5 feet from a gas meter.

We're in the process of remodeling our basement. Can you work with our contractor or remodeling company?
Foundation Builders often coordinates the installation of exterior doors with remodeling contractors. Our experience helps us make each project seamless. We bring expert experience and the right tools to every basement door installation. We're happy to work with your contractor.

My basement is already finished. Is it too late to add an exterior door?
Foundation Builders can install a new exterior door while protecting your basement's walls and carpeting. We install doors in finished basements regularly.

Will the carpet be destroyed?
Foundation Builders has a proprietary method for cutting the opening of your exterior door.  No dust or water will invade your basement. No need to roll up your carpet!

Will installation damage my home's foundation?
Foundation Builders uses installation methods approved by all building departments to ensure your door project is done right. Because installation by an inexperienced contractor can damage your foundation, you should hire experienced professionals for this job.

What kind of door can I use?
We recommend a 5-foot-wide French door with one door operable. The second door can be opened when needed. We also install doors with 20" X 64" glass with mini-blinds installed between the glass.

What about energy efficiency?
Foundation Builders typically uses steel entry door systems. These high- quality, insulated glass doors far exceed building code requirements for energy efficiency. The door system offers the added bonus of rot-fee, composite-wood framing.

Can you install a basement entry door in the winter months? 
Yes, doors can be installed in all seasons. However, rain can cause work delays.

Where should I put my basement entry door?
Positioning a glass door to get as much sunlight as possible will brighten your basement. When choosing a location, consider the outdoor features you'd like to directly access from the basement: your garage, a pool, garden, patio, etc.

Will I need a permit for a basement entry door?
Most entry door additions will require permits. You may also need to check your homeowners' association's restrictions on entry doors and/or your local government's zoning requirements. Foundation Builders will provide the drawings and specifications you need to obtain any necessary permits.

What about buried utility wires? 
We contact Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) to mark utility lines. Please let us know if you have other hazards buried on site, such as electrical lines to a shed or garage, an electric pet fence, lawn sprinklers, cable TV or downspout drains. 

Do you stand behind your work?
Foundation Builders' commitment to total customer satisfaction is what sets us apart from the rest. We warrant that the work we perform will be free from defects and will perform according to concrete industry standards for two years after completion. Additionally, components used in your basement entry door system offer manufacturers' warranties.

Will installation ruin my lawn or landscaping?
No. Foundation Builders uses special heavy-duty ground mats to help protect your lawn from equipment damage. Some discoloring or compacting of grass can still occur. We use the lightest-duty equipment possible to minimize the impact of excavating. 

What happens to the dirt that's dug out?
We typically leave excavated dirt on the homeowner's property, where it can be used to re-grade landscaping where necessary. We can suggest ways for you to use the dirt on your property during our free site consultation. We can also make arrangements for offsite disposal of dirt.

How long does installation take?
Our crews can install your basement entry door in about 30 days once the job is started, weather permitting.

What do I do next?
Call Foundation Builders at 513-753-6699 for a free site consultation. We look forward to making your dream basement a reality.